The grin was evident on Chaz Moore's face as he ran around -- between the lines, at long last -- at Scrappy Moore Field on Friday.
Wearing his helmet, shoulder pads and a green no-contact jersey, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore cornerback was participating in practice for the first time since the opening session of the preseason on Aug. 4.
Moore suffered a shoulder injury that day and has spent the past two weeks doing everything necessary to be back in time for the Sept. 3 season opener at Nebraska.
"The focus is just getting my footwork back together and the chemistry back with the secondary," Moore said.
Moore played in all 11 games last season, starting two when Buster Skrine was injured. He said missing two weeks of practice has cost him some physically, but mentally he's right there.
"I was getting my mental reps when I was out, so I feel a little bit behind as far as speed because my arm's not pumping like it usually would," he said. "But besides that I feel like I'm in good shape."
Moore said he didn't know when he'd be allowed back into full-contact situations. That might not happen until the week of the opener.
Linebacker Shane Heatherly, meanwhile, is hoping to return early next week from a high ankle sprain that has sidelined him since last Wednesday.
"It's miserable sitting out here," said Heatherly, who started 10 games in 2010. "I've gotten to the point now where I can jog and hop on one foot, so it's coming along a little better now."
Mocs coach Russ Huesman said as long as both players are back by Aug. 28, the Sunday before the opener, that should be enough time to get them ready.
Moving the sticks
Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said that more than anything he wants to see the offense put together some long drives during today's scrimmage at Finley Stadium.
The offense had a lot of three-and-outs last week and made some costly mistakes on third downs.
"Do I want to go score a bunch of touchdowns? Yes, but I'll feel a lot better if we can come off the field after putting two or three drives together with three or more first downs and we've changed the field position," he said. "We've not done that yet and that's an emphasis -- try to move the sticks."
Quarterback B.J. Coleman said the offense had a "great week" of practice and should be ready.
"From scrimmage one to scrimmage two, obviously you want to see an increase in understanding, focus, tempo and energy," Coleman said.
Center Shaun Hill did not practice Friday and is day-to-day with a sprained foot. Patrick Sutton did most of the snapping and will get most of the work with the first-team offense in the scrimmage. ... UTC will have a Meet the Mocs autograph session at 1 p.m. today, and the scrimmage begins at 2:30.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...